Thursday, 12 February 2015

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. "World War Z" is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years. 

***I cut out the other 6 paragraphs from the huge Goodreads blurb***

My Review:
I looked forward to reading this book so much. I was excited because I worked in a building on George Square in Glasgow where they filmed some of the scenes and you can see it in the film clips. I couldn't wait to read the book then see the film.

Reality bites!

I really did not like anything about this book. Firstly, the blurb on Goodreads is like a novel in itself-over description and so much information that you are drowning in it before you even start the book! Seriously people, cut it down and just briefly say what the book is about! If I hadn't already bought it years ago, that blurb would have put me right off. It is meant to entice the reader, not bore the arse off them!

I hate the oral history format which I was trying for the first time and have no interest in trying again, and it was just boring! What I LOVE about zombie books is being with the characters as they creep down dark corridors on supply runs, trying to hide from or outrun a hungry zombie, the shock of a loved one being bitten. It is part of the tension and excitement. Having people recount their experiences after the event whether it is a conversation, an email or diary entry just doesn't cut it for me. It removes the drama and the feeling that you are there with them. I just didn't get that with the oral history format and it took away what I love about zombies.

Yes some of the interviews in this format are quite interesting but you have to plough through a lot of boring bits to unearth the gems and I just couldn't be bothered doing that through a whole book, without getting tempted to skim and skip. That told me right away that this was not going to be my kind of book. When you do get something interesting that you want to hear more about, their story ends and it switches to a story from some new and not very interesting person and that gets frustrating. I'd rather get to know a group of survivors by sharing in their story as we go along and not have after the fact reporting. There were a lot of things that they droned on about that didn't interest me and it just felt like one big info dump. I felt as if I was being forced to read a very coma inducing government inquiry report into sewage or something.

And where are the zombies! It's not REALLY a zombie book without the rampaging undead breaking down barricades and coming to chew on our heroes! Nope, it's all over already and now we'll tell you a bit about what happened. Grrr. I have higher hopes for the film on this score though, fingers crossed. I hope we get to experience the zombie attacks this time!

There is no real impact in the survivor interviews...because we don't know the dying or those who went zombie. They are just nameless faceless people mentioned briefly and forgotten about. I felt no emotion or connection to any of these people so I wasn't really drawn into the stories. That is part of why I lost interest quickly. Where are the scares? Where is the drama? Where are the gut wrenching moments when your favourite gets bitten? OK so I know that this is not the type of book the author set out to do. He wanted to do the aftermath where reports of the disaster are being used. It is a plot device and if you like that format I imagine you would say that he has done a good job of delivering that.

Overall I was greatly bummed out with this book which didn't live up to my expectations. That is not to say it is a bad book. Just be aware that if you want a traditional survivors battling zombies book, you won't find it here. 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg


  1. Oh wow.

    We saw the movie, I didn't read the book. It didn't sound like something I would enjoy. The movie was okay, but wasn't what I went in expecting either. Thanks.

    1. At some point I'll watch the film though I have seen some very mixed reviews about it. When you hear that the cast are called back to make changes after the initial screenings, that isn't usually a good sign...